When you’re trying to build a healthier relationship with yourself, it’s hard to know where to start, and it’s easy to get stuck. Self-love can often feel like an abstract, even foreign, concept.
That’s why here on Weightless I love to share concrete tools and practices. Actions you can take to help you better understand yourself and feel comfortable, proud and grateful in your own skin. Activities you can do to have fun, play and enjoy yourself and your life.
Today, I’m excited to share several of these tools. Below, Anna, of Curvy Yoga, and Vivienne, of Be Your Own Beloved, reveal their favorite ways to help us reconnect with our bodies and practice self-love.
This is actually the basis of their new e-course. Anna and Vivienne have teamed up to create a beautiful e-course called Practice: Embodying Your Curvy + Beloved Body.
It’s a 4-week course that combines yoga and self-portraiture for cultivating self-love. Registration for the e-course closes this Sun, Aug. 25, at 12:00pm PT. Details below.
Here, Anna shares the power of yoga, and the pose that helps her reconnect to herself.
Q: You help women of all shapes, sizes and abilities connect to our bodies and build healthier relationships with ourselves through yoga. Why do you think yoga is so helpful for doing this?
A: I think yoga is helpful for (re)connecting with our bodies because it gives us a testing ground. For example, when you’re on your yoga mat, in the midst of a pose, your teacher might ask you to take a breath and notice what you’re feeling (you can also do this for yourself during a yoga practice).
For some people (like me!), this can be quite challenging when first starting yoga. But then over time, it becomes a more organic process. And perhaps even more interestingly, it also begins to show up off the mat – being able to tune in to your body during a particularly challenging conversation, or while preparing dinner, or before you go to bed.
Q: What’s your favorite pose to help you reconnect with your body and practice self-love?
A: Ohh…it depends on the day! But one of them is definitely Savasana, or the final relaxation pose that is done at the end of most yoga classes.
It helps me come back to myself because I am fully supported by the floor (and whatever other props I might choose!) and it’s also my time to just be with me: letting go and dropping into my breath and whatever is present for me.
I find that when those things are in place, it’s so much more easeful to extend myself love because I am just here in this moment, not worrying about the past or projecting into the future.
Here, Vivienne explains why self-portraiture is a great tool for cultivating self-love and shares a beautiful exercise for us to try.
Q: You said something really powerful on Instagram the other day: “I’m kind of in awe of how absent photography as a tool for self-love is in most of the body positive books i’m reading. In fact photos are mostly mentioned as points of triggering, not as an ally.” Why is photography such a great tool for self-love?
A: It is so common for us to hear ourselves or other people say “I hate the way I look in photos” or “I’m not .” For most of us, photos are a place that we might feel like false truths, or our negative self-image comes to the forefront. Images might feel like proof of something we believed about ourselves.
In a lot of the books I was reading, this was the case. Photos were referred to only as points of this “proof” of a story that someone believed about themselves and their self-image.
[But] we normally don’t return to the place of that vulnerability and see it as a resource to transform those old stories of seeing ourselves clearly and with kindness. Of taking a story like “I hate the way I look in photos,”and make room for a new kind of truth.
One way I do often see this done in the body-positive world is through plus size fatshion bloggers. Photography (often self-portraits) is used as a way to see ourselves with love and to claim our right to feel beautiful in the bodies we are in.
I see photography as an ally, one of many tools we can use to cultivate self-love. What is really powerful to see is when I invite folks who have been exploring self-love for a long time, who have read all the books, who have done all sorts of self-love work, but have never used photography as a tool for self-love.
I think we might see it as a danger zone, but it is because our inner critic is prevalent there that I find we can do the most work to push past that critic and find a place of love.
Plus, once we get past the fear of taking a self-portrait, people often discover that it is a lot more fun than they expected and is a way for us see the evolving visual story of ourselves!
Q: Can you share an exercise for using photography to cultivate self-love?
A: Absolutely. I think one big challenge of photographs is that we might see them only as a reflection of our physicality. But they can be a space to not just see our bodies differently but to tell our stories.
So one activity I love to invite people to do, especially as they are just starting out is to take a photograph of one part of themselves with gratitude and tell a story of something that feels like a part of their story.
These hands have held….
These feet have taken me…
These eyes have seen…
This body knows…
The e-course includes:
Again, registration closes this Sun, Aug. 25, at 12:00pm PT. Learn more here.
What are your favorite ways to reconnect to your body and practice self-love?
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Last reviewed: 21 Aug 2013